Assault and Battery are separate charges. While both are violent crimes, batteryis the more serious charge because it involves physical or bodily harm, while assault simply involves the threat or reasonable fear of immediate injury. If you have been accused of battery, there is a strong chance you are also liable to assault charges. You can find complete information on assault, including potential defense strategies, here
Battery is found in the Illinois criminal code under 720 ILCS 5/12-3, which states:
“A person commits battery if he (or she) intentionally or knowingly without legal justification and by any means causes bodily harm to an individual or makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual.”
While it may seem like a simple charge, battery is actually quite complex. The numerous exceptions and clauses in the legal definition make this clear. There are dozens of factors which can complicate and intensify the charges. Below is an overview of need-to-know information, but there is no substitute for an aggressive defense by an experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer.
Simple battery typically results in physical harm without serious or lasting injury. Common examples include punching, hitting with an object, or forceful grabbing. It is possible to commit simple battery without physical touching an individual, for example by spitting on someone or throwing a drink in their face.
There are numerous ways a simply battery charge can be elevated to aggravated battery. Typically the charge is elevated when the altercation results in serious injury, such as broken bones, internal injuries, loss of teeth, or serious lacerations. Generally, if the victim requires a hospital visit or serious medical attention, there is precedent for aggravated battery.
Alternatively, if the assailant wears clothing to mask their identity, records the attack with the intention of distributing the footage, uses a deadly weapon, or even uses a device that appears like a firearm, then there is likewise justification to press felony charges, rather than a simple misdemeanor.
Simple battery is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine up to $2,500 and up to 1 year in jail. Aggravated battery, however,can be a Class 3, Class 2, Class 1, or even Class X felony. A Class 3 felony, the least offensive of aggravated battery charges, may result in a term of imprisonment for 2 to 5 years. For Class 2, Class 1, and Class X felonies, the term of imprisonment can increase up to 30 years. If the defendant has at least one prior conviction for the same crime, that prison term can double to a maximum of 60 years, depending on the class of felony.
While an aggravated battery conviction can land you in serious, life-changing trouble, an aggressive lawyer can provide the best possible case to reduce or avoid a sentence. Unless you have been charged with a Class X felony, it is possible to receive probation instead of a prison sentence.
An excellent criminal defense attorney has a variety of options to defend clients against a conviction. The outcome will depend greatly on the details of the case, but there are several reasons why a defendant may be acquitted of battery charges.
The principle reasons include defense of self, property, or others. In the case of sexual assault and battery charges, it can be argued that the victim consented to the violence. There are limitations to each of these approaches. While a defendant may have been truthfully acting in defense of themselves or another, it must be clearly demonstrated in court. Additionally, even if you were clearly acting in defense, that does not justify any amount of force used against an assailant. If someone pushes you on the street, that will not justify pushing them back into moving traffic. Similarly, in the case of defending property, not all property is treated alike. It is one thing to use mace on an intruder in your home or to trip a pickpocket who is running away with your wallet. That does not mean that you will necessarily be justified for shooting an unarmed person in your yard or beating a thief senseless.
Courts of law typically do not like to spend ample time on battery cases, and often there is a lack of witnesses to provide perspective on the situation. Accordingly, it is imperative to equip yourself with a professional legal defense that can present your case in the best light.
Michael Schmiege runs a boutique firm of nationally recognized criminal defense lawyers for Will County, including the cities of Joliet, Bolingbrook, Plainfield, Romeoville, Lockport, and New Lenox. Give your future the best chance with our highly skilled defense strategies and understanding of prosecutor tactics. Aggressive, skilled legal counsel is always your best chance for a favorable outcome when your future is in jeopardy. Contact us immediately to ensure you have strong legal representation for drug charges in Will County.
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